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a citizen’s journal by Thomas Nephew

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Elect to End Torture 2010: congressional scorecards

Posted by Thomas Nephew on October 29th, 2010

The National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT) Action Fund has produced detailed Congressional vote scorecards of House and Senate incumbents’ “actions on major pieces of torture-related legislation in the 109th, 110th, and 111th Congresses,” from 2005 to 2010:

You can tell people how their vote will make a difference by writing a letter to the editor of your local newspaper that either thanks your incumbent Representative or Senator for his or her good votes to end torture – or takes him or her to task for failing to vote against torture. Get involved today – we’ve got suggestions and sample letters available.

I’ve reformatted the data to an online spreadsheet, visible to the right.  NRCAT compiled House votes on the Detainee Treatment Act (DTA), the Military Commissions Act (MCA), and bills about habeas corpus, Army Field Manual “golden rule” in interrogation, videotaping interrogations, and closing Guantanamo, as well as the House attempt to override Bush’s veto of the “golden rule” bill.

For the Senate, NRCAT also reviewed DTA, MCA, habeas corpus, and Guantanamo closure votes, as well as the Mukasey confirmation vote and a vote on establishing a commission to examine detainee treatment abuses.  Scores were computed as the sum of equally weighted positive votes to end torture and negative votes to tolerate it, divided by the greatest possible score for the Congressperson or Senator, expressed as a percentage.

Goal Thermometer
Support these progressives:
Feingold, Sestak, Grayson,
Kilroy, Murphy, Clark, Lentz,
Trivedi, Pingree, Grijalva,
Doggett!!!

Naturally, I was interested in how “newsrack actblue” candidates or their opponents voted — and I’m very pleased to report that every single incumbent we’re supporting got a NRCAT score of 100. Moreover, two challengers — Tarryl Clark and Manan Trivedi — face Republican incumbents with extremely poor scores: Michele Bachmann (10) and Jim Gerlach (14) respectively.

NRCAT has also published questionnaire responses for selected Senate and House races. One of the Senate races was Wisconsin’s — and while Russ Feingold agreed with the NRCAT position on every count, Ron Johnson stayed true to form by… refusing to answer the questionnaire.

While it’s true that candidates have probably completed buying the air time they can purchase before the election, a Feingold staffer has emailed me that his campaign can still use funds to mount the best possible “get out the vote” (GOTV) drive they can. So if you haven’t donated, there’s still time, and now it’s even clearer that we’re supporting some outstanding candidates.

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